College Football: Southern Cal Out of Playoff Consideration After Bad Loss

We’re a day away from officially knowing what four teams will make the College Football Playoff (CFP), but in all likelihood, we already know which ones will have their names called on Sunday afternoon.

Utah USC
Utah USC
Utah wide receiver Money Parks outraces USC defensive back Calen Bullock to the endzone Friday in the Utes 47-24 win during the Pac-12 Championship Game at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The loss by the Trojans knocked them out of the running for a College Football Playoff berth. (Image: Hunter Dyke/Utah Athletics)

Thanks to an unfortunate injury to Caleb Williams and an abysmal performance by the Southern Cal defense, the Trojans played their way out of the CFP fourth seed in a 47-24 loss to Utah in Friday’s Pac-12 Championship Game in Las Vegas. That means Ohio State, which was fifth in the rankings earlier this week, is the next team up.

You can argue whether the 11-1 Buckeyes deserve the bid, given they lost 45-23 last weekend at home to Michigan. But after the three (as of Saturday afternoon) undefeated teams, the Buckeyes are the only one-loss team around. As for other possibilities, two-loss Alabama is lucky only to have two losses, and two-loss Tennessee, which beat Alabama, is without star quarterback Hendon Hooker, so they have an even harder case to make.

You can argue whether there should even be four teams playing for the title, but that’s the format we have. ESPN’s already blocked the air time for the Dec. 31 semis, and the Peach Bowl and Fiesta Bowl are already reserved, so there you go.

Georgia Still Favored to Repeat

Assuming No. 1 Georgia, No. 2 Michigan, and No. 3 TCU all win their conference championships Saturday, we’re most likely to see Georgia-Ohio State in the Peach Bowl and Michigan-TCU in the Fiesta Bowl.

Both Georgia and Michigan should be comfortable favorites in those games – again, assuming they win their conference championships and suffer no significant injuries. Georgia will likely even get a possible home-field advantage bump in its spread since the Peach Bowl takes place in Atlanta, a short drive from its campus in Athens.

On the FanDuel futures board as of Saturday afternoon, Georgia is the favorite to win its second straight title. The Bulldogs have odds of -150, meaning a $150 wager would return a profit of $100. Michigan’s odds are +350. That means a $100 wager on the Wolverines would net a $350 profit.

Ohio State has odds of +450, and TCU is the longest shot at +1500.

Williams Remains Heisman Favorite

On the Heisman front, Williams is still the clear front-runner at FanDuel even after Southern Cal’s loss. The Trojans dual-threat quarterback threw for 363 yards with three touchdowns in the loss to the Utes.

While he did throw his fourth interception of the season and lost a fumble, you could see that Williams was not close to 100% as he played with a limp throughout the second half. He also did not receive help from a defense that missed several tackles leading to big scoring plays for Utah.

As of Saturday afternoon, Williams’ Heisman odds at FanDuel were -1900. TCU quarterback Max Duggan was the second choice at +1700, with Ohio State quarterback CJ Stroud at +2300 and Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett IV at +5000.

Heisman finalists will be announced on Monday, with the award presented next Saturday.

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